Family

[5.0] Forces conspire to keep Harry Potter from returning to his second year at the Hogwarts wizarding school. Apparently, the big bad Voldemoort (who we still don’t see but hear about all the time) put a monster in a mysterious ‘chamber of secrets’ at the school, and only his true heir can unlock the chamber and let the monster out. This would suck because the …

[5.0] You know the story. Poor orphaned boy gets invited to a magical wizarding school and is destined to be the main adversary for a big bad meanie who is slowly manifesting (over, like, three or four movies). What I dislike about Harry Potter, in general, is how generic it is. Author J.K. Rowling has pulled just about every imaginable concept out of humanity’s collective asshole …

[6.0] From a technical and artistic point of view, this may be the finest animated film ever made. But it’s also dull. I dislike how the three floating fat ladies (Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather) steal the show, while the prince and princess are given all the personality of tree stumps. Fortunately, artistry goes a long way. Sleeping Beauty is Disney’s most exquisite work. I love …

[4.5] When an eccentric toymaker dies, he leaves his factory in the hands of his warmongering brother (Michael Gambon). As the company slowly turns into a weapons manufacturer, it’s up to the toymaker’s son (Robin Williams) to set things right. A long-time passion project for director Barry Levinson (Rain Man), Toys is a visually stunning achievement full of bright, bold, imaginitive sets. The soundtrack is also …

[5.5] This live-action Disney flick starts off interesting, with a 12-year old boy suddenly finding himself eight years in the future without having aged a day. Turns out he was the target of an alien abduction, and his abductor now needs his help to get home. The last half of the movie sees the boy flying around in a space craft with an incredibly annoying …

[7.0] In this potpourri of Middle-Eastern folklore, a banished king (John Justin) and a street boy (Sabu) team up to stop an evil magician (Conrad Veidt) from marrying a beautiful princess (June Duprez). The Thief of Bagdad tries to combine everything you can imagine from “Arabian Nights”, including the Genie and the magic carpet. Disney certainly used this classic as a springboard for their own …

[5.5] For family entertainment, George of the Jungle isn’t too bad. With all the critters and punny humor, it should hold most kids’ interest, but for once I wish a kids’ flick could restrain itself from frequent potty humor. The respectable cast includes Leslie Mann (Mrs. Judd Apatow), charming as always even if she doesn’t have much to sink her teeth into. Thomas Haden Church …

[7.0] When two down-on-their-luck brothers inherit an old house valued in the millions, the only thing standing between them and riches is the tiny little mouse that lives there. Nathan Lane and Lee Evans star as the bungling brothers in this somewhat dark family comedy penned by Adam Rifkin (The Dark Backward, Detroit Rock City) and directed by Gore Verbinski (The Ring, Pirates of the …

[7.0] The world’s first animated feature film holds up pretty well, even if feminism has rendered its heroine somewhat outdated. Snow White herself is a little annoying, not only because she sits around waiting for her “prince to come”, but also because Adriana Caselotti’s voice is so darned squeaky. But I enjoy the darker aspects of the film, including Snow White’s fear-induced flight through the …

[6.0] Disney Animation puts a science-fiction twist on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story. The mix of 2D and 3D animation is interesting, especially when you stop to marvel at an animator’s mastery of perspective when 2D characters are seen running through 3D environments while the ‘camera’ moves all around them. The overall design of Treasure Planet is incoherent, though — you never see two of …

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